Tartine Manufactory with Eater SF
What could be better than hitting up the hottest new opening in the city with the two most in-the-know food journalists in the game? Of course, if you’re sitting in the back of your cute blue truck while you do it! We had been trying to set up a tailgate with Ellen Fort and Stefanie Tuder for a while now, but with all of our busy schedules it had been a little difficult. Luckily, the opening of the Tartine Manufactory mid-August provided us with the motivation to get out of bed and beat the line. We were in for a treat.
For those of you who have been sleeping under a giant loaf of spontaneously fermented sourdough, the Manufactory is the newest project from Chad Robertson and Elizabeth Prueitt of Tartine bakery. Originally from Texas and New York City, they came to the Bay Area in the late 90s to make their bread and pastry. Along with their delicious treats, they soon too became SF staples.
We know we’re not the first to make this analogy, but the Manufactory really is our very own Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (ice cream Lazy River TBD). Inside, a dizzying array of options awaits. We were remiss and didn’t read Ellen’s enlightening piece about how to efficiently navigate the establishment and so upon entering (ok we were also mildly hungover) our senses were inundated. Sleek design, check. beautiful people, check. Selfie, check. Chad looking hot making bread, check. After wandering around aimlessly we made it to where the goodies were behind the glass counter.
We wanted a good sampling of sweet and savory for all to share and we were not disappointed. The breakfast sandwich ($14) has been a point of controversy on social media due to its price point (SF) but IOHO totally worth it: goopy fried egg, crunchy and tender porchetta, balanced by spicy dressed watercress. Kind of perfect. The other standout was the pistachio tea cake. It had the flavor of pure pistachio and a perfect moist crumb with a <mystery glaze>. The Liege waffle was perfectly crisp and sweet on the outside, and yeasty and soft on the inside. The only feedback we had was about the pain suisse which was delicious, but overly chocolatey. The classic French version derives its pleasure from the perfection of the custard and Tartine’s certainly shines. No need to cover it up.
Obviously, besides just eating we did some chatting as well. Like most of us here in SF they are also transplants, Stefanie originally from New Jersey and Ellen from Knoxville. They both cited SF as their spirit city, a place that called them from afar before they even knew what it was all about. Stefanie has only been here for a year, but has already made her mark as a prolific and talented writer for the website. Ellen lives in Berkeley and besides being in charge of SF Eater has two kids. According to her twitter feed, one of them is a francophile. What’s it like to move to SF from such disparate places? We’re a pretty welcoming crowd, aren’t we?
Besides our planned hangout sesh it seemed like the whole city was there. Friends from all walks of our foodie lives crossed paths. Austin Ferrari (Ohio) from Hillside Supper Club and Provender moonlighted taking some pictures for us, and even Vinny, Tartine's Director of Operations, took a break from procuring butter to sit with us in the back of the truck. If this is any indication, the Manufactory is already an industry hub, but of course we knew this was going to happen.
After our feast we wandered back inside, bellies full, to take in the bustle once more. The place buzzes, yet feels serene. The staff have a sense of urgency, but are warm and inviting. The Manufactory has been lauded as a pinnacle of Bay Area design, but it feels like a microcosm of SF itself. Created and inhabited by transplants, we learn what SF is all about and then we manufacture it on our own as an homage to our adopted home. The Manufactory isn’t just making pastries, cakes, bread and coffee. It’s making San Francisco.
Then we went next door and did a photo shoot.